About this project
What’s the project?
Planet Money is making a very special t-shirt. A t-shirt unlike any other. A t-shirt that can tell you the story of its own creation.
What’s Planet Money?
Planet Money is a joint project of NPR and This American Life, which focuses on coverage of the global economy. Imagine you could call up a friend and say, "Meet me at the bar and tell me what's going on with the economy." Now imagine that's actually a fun evening. That's what we're going for at Planet Money.
So wait, what does this have to do with t-shirts?
Almost every single t-shirt out there -- from the cheesiest vacation tank top to the fanciest boutique designer tee -- is the result of a complicated global odyssey. We will take you on that odyssey and document the route our t-shirt took to your back. We'll meet the people who grow the cotton, spin the yarn, and cut and sew the fabric. We'll ride on the cargo ships that bring our t-shirt from factories in Bangladesh and Colombia to ports in the US. And we'll examine the crazy tangle of international regulations which govern the t-shirt trade the whole way.
Cool. So what’s it ...
Hold on, I’m not done. Our t-shirt will have a cool little code on it that you can scan with your smartphone. It’ll bring you to an interactive page where you can see photos of the people who made your shirt and follow its journey around the globe.
Sorry, what was your question?
What’s it look like?
Sizes available: Men's and women's S, M, L and XL.
Don't worry about giving us your size when you pledge. After our project closes, we'll send you a form where you can specify size and gender.
Also, we CAN send you multiple shirts if you pledge multiples of $25.00 -- but only if the shirts are all going to the same address. (So just to be clear, if you pledge 50 bucks, you can order two shirts, 75 will get you three. But no matter how many you get, they all have to go to the same address. Sorry!)
What does a squirrel have do with planets or money?
We thought about the design of our t-shirt like an apparel company would. What feelings, we asked ourselves, do we want the design to evoke? Well, we answered ourselves, as journalists we’re always striving to cover the potentially frightening world of finance and economics in an accessible and fun way. And so we want our t-shirt to feel accessible and fun as well. What, we concluded, is more accessible and fun than a squirrel hoisting a martini glass!
Also, it's a visual pun -- a reference to the phrase "animal spirits" made famous by the economist John Maynard Keynes.
In the 1930s, Keynes wrote that most of our decisions “can only be taken as the result of animal spirits—a spontaneous urge to action rather than inaction, and not as the outcome of a weighted average of quantitative benefits multiplied by quantitative probabilities.”
As Planet Money's own David Kestenbaum put it recently: "Keynes's idea was that there's more to the markets than just numbers, there are people and emotions making decisions. And to the extent that we are finding the human element in the very dry subject of economics, it's actually perfect for us."
I’m pretty particular about my t-shirts. It’s not coarse and boxy is it?
No way. We’re partnering with the t-shirt company Jockey. They tailored this t-shirt specifically to our needs. It’s made of soft, lightweight, 100% cotton fabric. And the cut is super-sleek.
Where’d you get this idea?
The inspiration came from an amazing book, The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy, by an economist named Pietra Rivoli.
I was just pulling your leg with my earlier question about Planet Money. I’m actually a huge fan. How do I get a shirt?
Simple! You pledge $25 or more, and we’ll send you one.
Risks and challenges
The challenges with a project like this are everywhere. We are traveling to remote locations, navigating different cultures and languages, and then asking people about money! Along the way there will likely be delayed flights, canceled bus trips, wrong turns, missed connections, mistranslations, and the constant bewilderment that attends any attempt to understand what's going on in a foreign locale. And these are just the challenges that we as journalists are used to dealing with.
Then there are the challenges of, essentially, running a t-shirt company. We'll need to pay our suppliers, make arrangements for shipping and handling, and follow up with you all to make sure that everyone who ordered a shirt got one. We'll be working hard to make sure that all happens smoothly. And we've enlisted lots of help to see that it does.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter